North Texas Daily

Don Quixote revolutionizes modern storytelling

Don Quixote revolutionizes modern storytelling

Don Quixote revolutionizes modern storytelling
September 19
09:08 2015

Andrea Czobor | Staff Writer
@AndreaCzobor

If there was one thing Don Quixote believed in, it was magic.

Brightly-lit authentic cultural costumes, props and performers brought inanimate aspects of a classic tale to life on UNT’s auditorium stage Wednesday.

“Don Quixote,” presented by the Sahrdaya Foundation, was an emotional production. The combination of fluid, synchronized movements with traditional, rhythmic sound transfixed audience members of all cultures in the Denton community.

“I love seeing any type of art or show,” theater education freshman Christine Bartkowski said. “There are many interpretations and they can give you ideas, especially as a director and a performer.”

A picturesque storytelling experience awaits those who open the pages to the magical universe of Don Quixote, whose passion for books sends him on a quest to revive forgotten chivalry. He engages in adventures around the world with his right-hand man, Sancho Panza.

The two self-proclaimed knights provide comedic relief and set out on multiple quests, encountering unique characters and lands but ultimately returning home to La Mancha, Spain.

Don Quixote is every individual who stands up for what he believes in.

Based on the seventeenth-century novel, “The Indigenous Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha” by Miguel Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote dives deep into the pages of his books, exclaiming the reality before him is ultimately madness.

“[We’re] diversity-minded at the Mary Jo & V Lane Rawlins Fine Arts Series. We try to program with various cultures in mind,” said Nicole Newland, University Union arts coordinator and co-chair of the Mary Jo & V Lane Rawlins Fine Arts Series.

The stage metamorphosed without a foundational physical set, allowing the multi-light display, elaborate costuming and Carnatic, Indian-style music to accentuate the artistic expression onstage.

Barefoot group numbers served as transitions between scenes and were also incorporated into the performance. The dancers captivated and interacted with the audience from onstage. Their eye-catching costumes shifted colors as lights flashed across the set.

“I thought the performance was inspiring,” Newland said. “I loved seeing the adaptation of a Spanish novel into Indian dance.”

In the world of magic, you can see and hear whatever you wish.

Performers and dancers seamlessly personified Quixote’s beloved books, expressing emotions of heartache, fear, courage, happiness and heroism.

Chills filled the intimately-sized audience during one scene where Quixote mistakes a field of windmills for giants, played by actors onstage. The “giants” render him powerless as he dreams of his lady Dulcinea.

“I am a classical Indian dancer, and hopefully by bringing something experimental like ‘Don Quixote,’ a Western story delivered using an Eastern idiom, interested locals in our art,” said Prathiba Natesan, associate professor of educational psychology and Mary Jo & V Lane Rawlins Fine Arts committee member. “This was the most intelligent choreography of this dance form even I had ever seen.”

Dulcinea Vision 2

Don Quixote is filled with Bharatanatyam, a classical form of Indian dance. Courtesy | Sahrdaya Foundation

The energized production, bound in classical elements of storytelling, was directed and choreographed by Sheejith Krishna, expert Bharatanatyam contemporary dancer. Originating in Southern India, Bharatanatyam is a classical dance form known for its sculptural poses.

“People tend to dilute art to bring a certain feeling, but [Krishna] has this ocean and was picking up the best spots, enhancing the entire feel to ‘Don Quixote,’” Natesan said.

Fliers scattered around campus and posted in local businesses enticed students, educators and the Denton community to attend the special one-night event.

Apart from the fliers and campus advertisements, Dr. Natesan reached out to many Indian communities, dance teachers and cultural associations in Denton to spread news about the production. The turnout was more than what she could have hoped for. Several families drove out from Dallas and Plano to see the production.

Providing exotic performances on campus throughout weekdays enables students to delve into enriching cultural atmospheres.

“There may be political boundaries, but there are no artistic boundaries,” Natesan said. “‘Don Quixote’ proved the universality of expressions and emotions without the incorporation of Indian dialogue.”

Performances will continue to tour through October around the U.S. and Canada, inspiring and sharing the power of imagination with scholars and stage-lovers alike.

The dream is not dead. The dream lives in all of us.

Quotes in bold from Don Quixote production company.

Featured Image: The Sahrdaya Foundation presented Don Quixote at UNT on Wednesday. Courtesy | Sahrdaya Foundation

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